God has revealed Himself in the Bible as a covenantal God. He has expressed His desire to relate to His people within the context of covenant. Under the Old Covenant, Israel enjoyed the special privilege of being known as God’s people. Now the New Covenant has been instituted by Jesus and the Church has become God’s special people. We are a part of the covenantal people of God as members of the Body of Christ. We will study the teachings of Jesus when He promised to establish the Church.
This vision of the church’s calling—to be the means through which Jesus continues to work and to teach, to establish his sovereign rule on earth as it is in heaven—is an ideal so high that it might seem not only unattainable, but hopelessly out of touch, triumphalistic, and self-congratulatory. One of today’s most-repeated clichés is that there are lots of people who find God believable, but the church unbearable, Jesus appealing, but the church appalling. We are never short of ecclesial follies and failings, as the sorrowing faithful and the salivating journalists know well. What does it mean to say that Jesus is king when the people who are supposed to be putting his kingship into practice are letting the side down so badly? To begin with, for every foolish or wicked Christian leader who ends up in court, in the newspapers, or both, there are dozens, hundreds, thousands who are doing a great job, often unnoticed except within their own communities.
– N. T. Wright, Simple Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He matters, HarperOne, pp. 220-221.
FOCAL PASSAGE: Matthew 16:1-20
Jesus established the church as His instrument to be used to establish the Kingdom of God. There is no institution on earth like the Church! It is the Body of Christ. It is the Bride of Christ. It is the community of faith for God’s people. We are blessed by the opportunity to be a part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ! As members of His Body, we are ambassadors for Him and His Kingdom. We are not just living in community, we are living in missional community!
ISSUES/QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS